Contract Ratification Boosts School Employees

by Mark McCullough  |  November 24, 2015

Contract Ratification Boosts School Employees AFSCME Local 1184 members Aurora Soza, left, and Lovedes Perez joined their food service coworkers and union brothers and sisters in standing united for a strong new contract. Credit: Mark McCullough

MIAMI – The bus drivers, maintenance and food service workers – and all the other hard-working men and women of AFSMCE Florida Local 1184 who make the country’s fourth-largest school system happen every day – have approved a new three-year contract with the Miami-Dade Public School system.

The contract, overwhelmingly ratified in votes cast at 10 worksites, is retroactive to July 1. The agreement includes a $10 minimum hourly wage that will help battle the county’s growing economic inequality. It also includes step increases, which workers have not had in nine years. Together, they should help the district attract more applicants to available job openings.

The union also won a key provision to limit the school board’s ability to outsource current and future jobs. AFSCME negotiators also were able to include language that will help stabilize health insurance costs, providing long-term certainty on a critical issue to both employees and the school board.

The ratification vote culminated months of intensive member-to-member outreach to learn about the workers’ priorities leading up to the negotiations. Local 1184 members also rallied and held other public events to explain why this contract matters. More than 100 workers joined the union during the ratification campaign.

“This is not just more of the same from us or from the school board,” said AFSCME Local 1184 Pres. Vicki Hall, a district school bus driver. “Thanks to our strong and united voice, this contract ensures that our jobs and rights are protected and that we are making real progress for our families and our communities.”

Noneconomic provisions will be in effect for the length of the contract, while economic issues will be subject to bargaining again at the end of this school year. During this time, AFSCME members will continue organizing their co-workers, focusing on the need for stronger job protections, retirement security and ensuring that hourly employees can qualify for employer-provided health care coverage.

“I voted yes on this contract because it is moving us in the right direction,” said Lovedes Perez, a food service worker and Local 1184 member.

“It is important for all of us to vote for this, but also to keep united as we keep working to grow and advocate for our jobs and our families,” added co-worker Aurora Soza.


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